Sunday, 21 November 2010

Daylight Robbery in London N10

Having participated in many of their First Thursday blitz tournaments, I've become quite fond of Hendon and friendly with many of their players. And now that Adam Raoof's joined Drunken Knights, I predict he'll be appearing on these pages more than he perhaps would like. 

Hendon's Middlesex League triumph last season owed a lot to an influx of familiar names for crucial fixtures. Names like D'Costa, Summerscale, Williams, Trent and Cherniaev, all of which may or may not have had letters after them. But now they're attempting to retain the title as a strictly amateur outfit, and they've got a great chance of doing so despite a 6-2 reversal at Ealing. 

Especially if they keep turning out killer teams like this:







Tryfon Gavriel (w)


0 – 1


Cristian Mures


Chris Russell


1 – 0


Tomer Eden


Phil Makepeace


½ - ½


Robert Willmoth


Alecos Ethelontis


0 – 1


Gary Senior


Dominic Norcliffe-Brown


0 – 1


Gayan Peiris


Dick House


½ - ½


Adam Raoof


Morris Stranger


0 – 1


Darlan Rodrigo Veit


Simon Wilks


½ - ½


Isaac Sanders



2½ - 5½


And you can forget about the represented grades on Boards 5, 7 and 8. Isaac is 12 years old and digustingly good; I didn't even need John Fleetwood telling me that about his protégé, his quality is well known. In addition, the two ungraded players wouldn't look out of place on the top boards. And so it unfortunately proved, as two of the juniors I was blooding fell first. 

I was next to follow, after this mini-thriller.

Philip J. Makepeace (185) - (204) Robert F. Willmoth

My season record with the white bits before this match was a rather shaming +0 -3 =9. And so after losing the toss, I expected to be unable to contribute to the hoodoo. However, Mike Bennett had other ideas and gave his troops white on evens.

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6 4. a4?!

Simply not realising it was a Czech Pirc. 

4... Qa5 5. Bd2 e5 6. Nd5

I quite liked the look of the positions that followed, so I took an early opportunity to relieve the pressure on d5 and e4.

6... Qd8 7. Nxf6+ Qxf6 8. Nf3 Bg4 9. Bc3 Nd7 10. Be2 Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Be7 12. Bg4

An attempt to exploit the bishop pair. And, frankly, designed to annoy black as much as possible. 

12... Nf8 13. O-O h5!?

Fair enough. 14. Bxh5 Qh6 is horrible so I'm pretty much forced to shove Boris into an outpost. However, black is now almost certainly not going to castle so I can start building plans around the destruction of the centre.

14. Bh3 g5 15. Bf5 Ne6 16. d5 Ng7

Having eliminated the bishop pair, I think Rob was feeling pretty good at this point. However, I have a shot that blows the position wide open and probably maintains a small plus as a result of my snug king.

17. f4!? gxf4 18. Rxf4 Qg5 19. Rf3 Nxf5 20. exf5 f6

Time to take stock. And I liked what I saw. While black's bishop is obviously very unhappy with life, mine still needs to get properly involved. But I felt most confident about going after his king, so that's what I, er, decided to do.

21. Qd3 Qg8!

Going backwards to go forwards. It also very importantly prevents my queen coming to c4 followed by penetration on e6.

22. dxc6 bxc6 

23. Rd1?!

Unnecessary prophylaxis. I had considered the alternative 23. Qa6 but considered that 23... Qd5 24. Rd3 Qc5+ 25. Kh1 Qb6 wasn't so great. However, 24. b4! or the extraordinary 24. Be1! would have been enormous. 

23... Kd7? 

The last chance for black to shut up shop on the queenside with 23... a5.

24. Bxe5?

One of those deliberations. And one which tends to appeal to my 'what the hell' psyche. It just looked too good. 24. Bb4 maintains the advantage and creates holes everywhere after the forced 24... d5.

24... fxe5 25. f6 Bf8 26. f7?

Time to bail out, or so I thought. I had considered the game sequence to be forced, however black had better options. 

26... Qg4 27. Qa6 Rc8 28. Qxa7+ Rc7 29. Qb8 Rc8 30. Qb7+

27... Qb4! would have been crushing in view 28. Rb3 Qc5+ 29. Kh1 Qxc2 30. Rb7+ Ke6 31. Rf1 when the black king is quite safe.

½ - ½

After very good +EV draws with black on 6 and 8, we were two down with three to play. And had better positions on all three. First of these to finish was Chris after a fantastic performance. Full annotations to follow.

Unfortunately, Tryfon and Alecos couldn't convert and both lost in time scrambles. Indeed, you can hear Tryfon getting all angry and overexcited about his game here. So the scoreline took a rather sombre turn. The return fixture is on January 20 - looking forward to it already.

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Release The Kraken by Philip Makepeace and Christopher Russell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.